Places in Jordan
Stay – Jordan isn’t a dirt cheap country for tourists but the cost of accommodation can hardly be called expensive. On less well-known locations, you only pay $11 for a private room, but in Amman or near Petra you’ll obviously pay a lttle more. A youth hostel in Amman will cost you between five and ten dollars per night. A little more privacy you get in a double room, for which you are expected to pay about twenty dollars. A three-star hotel starts at $25. The prices in Petra are similar. A three-star hotel will cost you between $20 and $30. A budget hotel starts at $15 a night.
Check out all the accommodation in Jordan here.
Eat – Start each day with a breakfast and stuff yourself with the amazing food! The food here is delicious. When I think back, I am still drooling over the delicacies I have tried out. In restaurants, you pay two dinars (JOD) for a soft drink. That’s about $3. For a beer you Pay 3 – 4 JOD. In a cheap restaurant, you pay only 5 JOD per person, but at the restaurants in the tourist regions you’ll pay a little more. For a three-course meal you’ll pay around 15 JOD (+/- $20) per person.
If you don’t like the delicious, amazing, incredible food from Jordan (shame on you!), You can always go to a McDonalds and only pay 5 JOD.
Transportation – There is no real form of public transportation in Jordan, and the vans that function as ‘public transport’, are quite unreliable. There are no set times and fees. However, it never really gets very expensive. A ride of about half an hour should only cost you 0.5 JOD. Buses to tourist spots are slightly more expensive, but still cheap (e.g. Amman > Jerash.): 1 to 2 JOD. Petra to Wadi Rum costs 5 JOD. To save time, confusion and being annoyed I recommend renting a car or arrange a day tour / multi-day tour.
Jordan Pass – If you want to see more than just Petra and Amman (often done together in a short tour), it’s not a bad idea to buy the Jordan pass. For 70 to 80 JOD you get access to many monuments (Petra is included!) and the expensive visa cost is already included with the price of the Jordan pass. Visit the official website to see if this is something for you.
Exchange money in advance – Often, foreign bank cards are not accepted in Jordanian banks, or in most cases, money can’t be collected from ATM’s. Just to make sure, it’s not a bad idea to pick up several Jordanian dinars in advance or exchange them for your local currency. Avoid credit cards, because there is an extra charged.
Petra – Petra is one of the ancient wonders of the world, but even now it still is very popular among tourists (it is one of the new world wonders as well!). For me it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. The huge area is actually an archaeological site which used to be inhabited by the Nabataeans. When they died, they were laid to rest in huge, beautifully decorated tombstones. All the tombs are carved into red sandstone and extend over more than ten kilometers. This beautiful wonder of the world is a must for every adventurous traveler. For one day you pay 50 JOD for two days 55 JOD and for three days 60 JOD. I think you definitely need two days to see everything in a nice pace. A ride on a camel shouldn’t have to cost you more than 7 JOD. A donkey costs 5 JOD.
Jerash – A pleasant surprise for me was Jerash. In the Roman period, this city was one of the most important and largest (Roman) cities in the Middle East. Today it is still the largest ancient Roman archaeological site outside of Europe. The monuments that you find on this site are in very good condition and give an excellent insight into how the Romans and Greeks have lived here.
Amman – Jordan’s capital is bursting with life and is well worth a short visit. The Amman Citadel is an important historical site and from here you get a very nice overview of the city. In the city it is nice walk, and I myself felt very safe. Besides the citadel, the Hoesseini mosque is also worth visiting.
Wadi Rum – Not too far from Petra lies Wadi Rum. Here, many scenes for the film Lawrence of Arabia were shot. This vast desert is enclosed by massive sandstone walls and a gorgeous red sand desert that makes you believe that you’re visiting another planet.
Dead Sea – The Dead Sea is partly located in Israel and partly in Jordan. The lowest dry part in the world (more than 400m below sea level!) is essentially a giant saltwater lake. Because of the high amount of salt, there is no life except for a couple of bacteria in the water, hence the name Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is especially nice for tourists because you can float in without ever going under. Moreover, the mud of the lake has a lot of minerals and crystals that provide your body with a (slimy) beauty treatment.
Diving in the Red Sea – According to many divers and snorkelers the Red Sea is the best location in the world to observe marine life. Take a dip in the lovely warm water and discover the beautiful underwater world of the Middle East.
Mount Nebo – In the Old Testament, you can read how God told Moses to find the promised land. After a long pilgrimage Moses arrived at Mount Nebo and from there he saw the promised land. Unfortunately, he can’t go any further and eventually dies on this sacred mountain.
Climb the 817 meter high mountain and get the same view as Moses.
Dana – Dana looks a bit like the Grand Canyon in the USA. The vast park is perfect for people who love beautiful views and are not afraid of a little climbing.The nature in this park is very different and beautiful.
Desert castles – In eastern Amman you’ll find a lot of castles that were built in the middle of the desert. Today they are a bit of a forgotten landmark. These wonderful -and often gigantic- buildings are rectangular or square in most cases, and they were built for the defense of a city, as the city itself, or for commercial purposes.
Not bringing appropriate clothing – Taking a couple of extra (warm) clothes is not a bad idea for two reasons. On the one hand there are many religious sites that ask you to at least cover your shoulders and knees before they let you enter. On the other hand, the many deserts of Jordan will cool off significantly during the evening. An additional layer can certainly do no harm! In the cities it is also asked to respect the local etiquette. Men are asked to wear long pants and preferably a t-shirt with long sleeves. Women are asked to wear loose fitting clothing, preferably with long sleeves and long legged pants/jeans.
Drinking tap water – According to some, the tap water in Jordan is perfectly drinkable, but according to most others… It is not. Avoid drinking tap water if you don’t want to spend your visit to Jordan on the not so comfortable toilets and buy bottled water instead.
Driving in the evening – Most European and American roads are clearly visible by the abundance of lights along the roads. Either it is by lampposts or by the many lights of the speeding cars. In Jordan, it is not uncommon for cars to drive without lights, even if it is pitch black outside. If you rented a car and decide to drive at night, just be careful.
No visa at Wadi Araba Border Crossing / Allenby Bridge – If you are traveling from Israel to Jordan you can only get a visa (visa on arrival) at the Sheikh Hussein border crossing. At the Wadi Araba Border Crossing and Allenby Bridge border you MUST already have a visa in your passport. There is no way to cross the border if you don’t have a visa yet. At the Wadi Araba border crossing you can only enter without a previously applied visa when you are with an organised tour. So, always ask if you need to arrange your own visa or not when traveling with an organized tour.